Messingham Out As ISU Offensive Coordinator
By Rob Gray and Josh Christensen, Reporters
AMES — Courtney Messingham is out as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator and so is running backs coach Kenith Pope, Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads announced in a news release Sunday afternoon.
A vocal segment of ISU fans had electronically expressed their displeasure with Messingham and the offense’s lack of consistent production all season long.
Rhoads himself had openly criticized offensive play calling at times, but his decision was undoubtedly a difficult and emotional one.
Rhoads promoted Messingham to offensive coordinator for the 2012 season after former play-caller Tom Herman took a job at Ohio State.
Pope, like Messingham, had been part of the staff since Rhoads took over the program in 2009.
“I want to thank both Courtney and and Kenith for their service to Iowa State,” Rhoads said in the release. “They have great character and work ethic, and have been excellent ambassadors for the university and community. They worked hard to help elevate our program and have been an important part of the success we have had in this program the last five years.”
The search to replace Messingham — who also served as the quarterbacks coach — and Pope began immediately, according to the release, but its duration is obviously not yet determined.
ISU sports information director Mike Green said Rhoads is out recruiting for two weeks and will be unavailable for further comment until after he returns.
The Cyclones’ offense — both running and passing — closed the 2013 season with its best games.
ISU totaled 502 yards, including 202 on the ground, while crushing Kansas 34-0 eight days ago.
The Cyclones (3-9, 2-7 Big 12) amassed a season-best 575 yards while coming back from a 24-point deficit to beat West Virginia 52-44 in triple overtime Saturday on the road.
But the offense struggled mightily before facing the downtrodden Jayhawks and Mountaineers.
Despite the late season surge, ISU finished 96th nationally in total offense (363 yards per game); 89th in rushing offense (143.8 yards); and 91st in scoring offense (24.8 points).
Last season’s offense produced the same scoring average in a generally high-scoring Big 12, so Rhoads made the move, but not easily.
Not when friends are involved.
Here’s what Rhoads said of his staff in general after Saturday’s emotional win:
“They’ve been knocked around and beat up, partially by me,” he said, according to West Virginia sports information quote sheets. “They’ve been doing the best job they could.”
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